December 4, 2018 7:19 pm

Nova Scotia’s nurses get new contract

The new collective agreement will come into effect on Feb. 1, 2019.

Global News file
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The Council of Nursing Unions has announced that their 7,500 members in Nova Scotia have been awarded a new collective agreement — a deal that has been in the works since 2015.

The new agreement is the outcome of a decision issued by mediator-arbitrator William Kaplan on Tuesday and applies to registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nurse practitioners of the Council of Nursing Unions.

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The council is made up of the Nova Scotia Nurses Union, Nova Scotia General Employees Union, CUPE and Unifor.

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The agreement will mean for a greater level of consistency across hospitals and ensures a wage increase of 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent, retroactive to 2014.

The wage increase is in line with Bill 148 which was proclaimed on August 22, 2017, and among other things, entails a three per cent cap on wage increases in the public sector over four years and froze the long service award.

Included in the agreement was a requirement to give nurses 48 hours notice for any change of a scheduled shift. The previous standard had been 24 hours notice.

In a statement, the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre welcomed the new agreement.

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“NSHA and the IWK are pleased and encouraged by the successful conclusion of the collective bargaining process,” said Carmelle d’Entremont, the NSHA’s vice-president of people and organizational development.

“These were complex negotiations and required plenty of thoughtful work on all sides to reduce and consolidate almost 50 agreements down to four agreements per employer.”

Employers have 60 days to educate their nurses on the changes of this collective agreement and will come into effect on Feb. 1, 2019.

The collective agreement will expire in October 2020.

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